My New SmugMug Portolio Site

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After using my own website to host my work and spending more time learning how to take better landscape photos, I decided to upgrade my photo galleries to a new SmugMug website. SmugMug does a great job of not only managing your photos but also allows you to create great websites to showcase your photos. With the Pro account you can even sell your photos and have everything taken care of through the SmugMug website.

So over the weekend I put together my Portfolio website with all of my latest photos. Now when you click the gallery link you will be taken to my new SmugMug Gallery and will be able to browse all my latest photos. I hope to spend more time capturing my favorite subject: landscapes.

You can view my new site
HERE.

I hope you enjoy all the photos! Let me know what you think when you get a chance to check them out!
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OS X Yosemite Server Part 7: SSL Certificates

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SSL, or Secure Socket Layer, Certificates are designed to set up secure encrypted communications between devices. SSL is used to keep everything from online bank transactions to other service communications with your server safe and secure. When browsing the web you can see this service at work when you log into a site and you see the lock icon in Safari or the web address starts with the https as opposed to non secure http.

SSL verifies that you are who you say your are or that the server you are trying to contact is the server you think it is so you don’t end up connecting to a spoofed site that then steals your information. There are two types of SSL Certificates in terms of verifying identity. There is a self signed certificate where the user is vouching for him/herself and a verified certificate where a third party is verifying the identity of the service you are looking to connect with. Obviously the verified SSL Certificate is more trusted than a self signed one. If you try to connect to a site that has signed it’s own certificate you will get a warning that that is the case while a verified certificate will go through without a warning since it is trusted. For your own website you really don’t need a verified SSL Certificate because you know who you are. If you are hosting a site that third parties will visit, you will want to have a purchased one.

In this screencast tutorial I cover the Certificates Service built into OS X Server. I cover what SSL certificates do, the differences between self-signed & verified certificates, how to secure your services with SSL, the different types of certificates you can create in OS X Server, and how to purchase and set up a third party verified SSL certificate. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them here or on my
Youtube Channel.



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OS X Yosemite Server Part 6: DNS

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DNS or Domain Name System, is the basic system used to translate IP addresses into names that are easier for us to remember. DNS is what deciphers that when a user types in example.com it should send the request to an IP address of 78.178.x.x. So DNS is a very important thing to have set up properly.

In OS X Server everything hinges on properly set up DNS. If you have a problem with your DNS then most of your services will not function properly and you will have all kinds of issues. If your DNS is not set up properly and you set up and Open Directory based on that DNS you will most likely have to start over with your Open Directory once you get your DNS set up properly, so you will want to make sure you have it working before you set up the rest of your server’s services.

In this screencast I cover how to set up the DNS service in OS X Server 4. I cover how DNS works, what each of the DNS records do, walk through two ways to set up your DNS, and cover how to test your DNS to make sure it is working properly. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them here or on my
Youtube Channel.



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OS X Yosemite Server Part 5: Host Name and Server Settings

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One of the most important things to making sure your server is functioning properly is to make sure your host name is set up properly. The host name identifies your server and is the basis for the DNS on your server. In this screencast I cover the three types of host names you can choose and which one to choose for each application. I also cover how to change your server name and use Apple’s new reachability service that does an external check of you settings and lets you know what services are accessible from outside your network.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them here or on my
Youtube Channel.



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OS X Yosemite Server Part 4: Port Forwarding

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If you ever plan on accessing your server remotely you will have to learn how to forward ports in order to get into your network to access the services your server offers. Ports are basically doors into your network. Each door has a number which is linked to the services that go in and out of that door. The walls around the door are either your router or a software firewall you have in place. Both function to keep unwanted traffic out and to be a gatekeeper to allow only wanted traffic into your network. This is what keeps our network secure.

When you forward a port you are creating the door for the service to go through as long as the user of that service knows he username and password needed to go through the door. This verification serves as the key to that door and let’s authorized users to have access to that service through that port. In OS X Server, if you have an Airport Extreme Base Station or AEBS, the server software itself handles opening and closing ports. If you have a third party router you will have to look up how your router handles port forwarding and you will need to set it up manually.

In this screencast I cover how to set up port forwarding using an AEBS with OS X Server. I cover the basics of port forwarding and how it works on your network. I also cover how to set up and use port forwarding with the built in service with OS X Server and how to do it manually if you don’t have an Apple Router. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them here or on my
Youtube Channel.



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OS X Yosemite Server Part 3: Network Configuration

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Part of running a server is making sure all of the network components are set up properly. This includes the router you choose to use. With an Airport Extreme Base Station or a Time Capsule, OS X Server will manage your router for you right inside the server application. This makes it simple to set up and manage your router as it relates to your server as opposed to using a third party router. Third party routers will work fine you just have to know how that router works and where to go to configure the settings you need to make it work.

Another thing you will need to do make sure your server is functioning properly is to set up a DHCP Reservation for your server. A DHCP Reservation is giving your server a permanent internal IP address so every time your server is online it will have the same IP address. This is needed because your other devices that will be connecting to your server will be looking to it for DNS and other services and if the IP address changes those devices will not be able to know what the new IP is for your server.

In this screencast I cover router considerations and how to do a basic set up of your network to make sure it is ready to work with OS X Server. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them here or on my
Youtube Channel.



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OS X Yosemite Server Part 2: Install & Set Up

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For those of you who are looking to get started with OS X Server, I put together an install and set up tutorial to show you what the process looks like. I cover each of the steps in the process and walk through the basic settings for the server like remote access and the new access tab which shows the services you have running, the ports those services use, and who has access to those services.

Overall the new update is a good one and Apple has done some things to polish up the server app. It does have a new look to match the changes made to the visual design found in Yosemite. It also has some little touches like the Access tab and the reachability service that make the process of determining how things are configured and if they can be reached outside your server much easier. So most of the changes are little touches here and there but you can see how Apple is slowly refining the Server app to make it more accessible.



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Photo of the Month: Forgotten

Here is another photo I took at Bodie. For those who didn’t see my previous photo, Bodie is a ghost town of sorts just above Mono Lake in California. It was a mining town where the people who lived there left everything behind. So the place has fully furnished homes and all kinds of equipment including cars. This photo is of an abandoned car that is still in good shape for its age. The day was perfect with incredible clouds in the sky which really made the photo pop. I took this one with my Canon 70D and my Tamron 17-50 lens with a CPL filter.

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OS X Yosemite Part 4: Clean Install Walkthrough

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In most cases a straight upgrade is the best way to move to the latest version of OS X since you get the benefits of the upgrade and still get to keep all of your files and settings in place and functional. There are times, however, when a clean install if necessary. Maybe you notice your Mac is running slower than it used to. Or maybe you need to do a complete clean install of OS X Server and many times it is easier to go with a clean install than trying to track down all the files associated with Server.

In this screencast I walk your through how to do a clean install of OS X Yosemite. I cover how to do the install from a USB Boot Installer (this is something I covered in the previous screencast which you can view on my blog HERE) and show you screen by screen what the install looks like. One of the changes I noticed right away is the installer only runs once and then reboots right into the set up process saving time. In Mavericks the installer would run through the install screen twice and then go right into the set up and seemed to take more time to run than Yosemite does.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or on my
Youtube Channel.



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OS X Yosemite Part 3: Creating a USB Installer

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There are times when you need to do a clean install on your Mac or multiple Macs. The usually way of doing this would be to boot into the recovery partition, use Disk Utility to wipe your drive, and then install a fresh copy of OS X Yosemite.

While this process is convenient it can take some time as you still have to download the installer package as a part of the installation process. Depending on your bandwidth and how many machines you need to do a clean install of, it could add to the time it takes to get the job done.

With a bootable USB installer, you can download OS X once, create the installer and then use that USB drive to boot each of your machines into the OS X installer. OS X is only downloaded once to create the installer and you can take that USB drive with you from machine to machine. It really can make the installation process fast and convenient.

In this screencast, I cover two ways to create a USB Installer, one using
Diskmaker X and the other using the terminal process for ‘createinstallmedia.’ Both of these options create a bootable installer that you can use to do a clean install of OS X. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or on my Youtube Channel.



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Talking to Your Spouse About Finances

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When couples are asked to list the things that cause stress in their marriages, money always comes up in the top five. There is something about money that causes issues for people no matter what their marital status. Add another person who you share your earnings with and now you have a major source of discussion and debate. What is it about money in a marriage that causes so much stress? And, how do you begin to talk with your spouse about money in a way that both partners understand one another and can move forward together?

Start with You
When it comes to talking about money, it is important to have a handle on your own triggers, goals, and ideas on how to manage it. Before you talk to your spouse about money ask yourself: How do I feel about budgeting our money? What things do I typically spend money on that I could eliminate if need be? What are my goals for our money? Are those goals realistic? Or, are those goals built around my own agenda for what I want?

Consider Your Spouse
Once you have had a chance to wrestle down your own thoughts and feelings about money, it is important to begin to think about your spouse and how he/she views money. Does your spouse share your views on money? In what ways would my money habits cause my spouse anxiety? How good of a job do you do of communicating about money to each other? Where would my spouse say I mishandle our money? The more you understand where your spouse is coming from the better your conversation about money will be. Like other areas of your marriage, understanding your spouses perspective will go a long way to avoiding blow ups and conflict when it comes to discussing money.

Sit Down and Talk Together
Once you have both prepared yourselves by understanding your own views on money and what you think your spouses’ views are, set aside some time to talk about your finances together. Start with a word of prayer together to set the tone for your discussion. Invite the Lord into your conversation and pray for His wisdom on how you handle your finances. Then begin to talk about your finances together. As you discuss these things do the following:

1.
This is not a business negotiation: Don’t treat your spouse as an opponent to out negotiate to get what you want. Instead, you need to see your spouse as a partner who has an equal share in what you do with your finances.

2.
Come with what you will give up: Instead of defending your spending habits, each of you come with things you are willing to give or cut back for the sake of the budget. That will keep either of you from digging in and not compromising together.

3.
Keep the good of the family in the long run ahead of what you might not get in the short run: This is about planning for your future together which means some sacrifice is inevitable.

4.
Remember to honor your spouse in the conversation: This discussion is about your future together. Don’t belittle or dishonor your spouse in the process of having this conversation. If at any time you find that you are getting mad at each other or going to name calling, quit and come back to it later. If you feel you can’t over come your impasse, ask for help from a mentor couple or someone at your church. You never want money to become an issue that comes between you.

Talking about money can be difficult but it can also be a bonding experience if you are willing to hang in there and see it as an opportunity to get on the same page and have the same goals together. There will always be times where you will not agree 100% but how you handle those times of disagreement could help you grow closer together.
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OS X Yosemite Part 2: Handoff on All Your Macs

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Continuity between Macs is one of the bigger features included in the upgrade to Yosemite. Having all of your Mac and iOS devices communicate with one another and share functions with another is a great features. Starting a paper on your Mac and then handing it off to your iOS device when you hit the road is very convenient and allows you to use the best device for various circumstances in your life and not have to figure out a way to get the document you are working on to the devices you have chosen to use. It is also convenient to do things like answer the phone on the device that happens to be closest to you in the moment. Overall, continuity and handoff are great additions to the Apple eco-system.

But like any new set of features there is a cutoff on what devices can use the features. Handoff needs bluetooth 4.0 to function so any device that doesn’t have that version of bluetooth is left out. Also, Apple chose to leave out some of it’s older Macs that do have bluetooth 4.0 like the mid 2011 Mac Mini that I use for my server. This is frustrating because my Mac Mini has everything it needs to make Handoff work. So I went on a search to see if I could work around that requirement and found a tool that enables continuity on older Macs, even those that don’t currently have bluetooth 4.0 but could add it with a card or USB device.

The Continuity Activation Tool was created by a group over on Github and you can read more about it
HERE. The tool basically changes Apple’s system check and changes the no to using continuity to a yes. It is a simple to use tool and very easy to run. Just download the zip and run the tool. On their Github page, they let you know what Macs it works on and what is needed to make it run on each Mac.

In this screencast I walk through using the tool to enable handoff. I also cover how to use handoff on your Mac and show how each function works. As always thanks for watching! If you have any questions feel free to leave them here or on my
Youtube Channel.



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OS X Yosmite Server Part 1: Server Upgrade

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Well it has been another year and, for Apple, that means another upgrade to their OS and Server Application which means the new Server version 4 is out in the wild. Yosemite Server is more of a refinement than a major upgrade which includes all of the functionality we were used to in Server 3 with a few additional features like a new reachability service that does all the necessary checks to know if your server is accessible on the internet. There is also an access tab added to the server area that lets you view who is accessing what services on what ports and also allows you to set permissions for each of those services.

In this screencast I walk you through the upgrade and give you a basic tour of some of the more obvious changes to OS X Server. I will walk through each of the services like I normally do to help you to get your server configured the way you want it.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or on my
Youtube Channel.



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OS X Yosemite Part 1: Upgrade Step by Step

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With Apple’s release of 10.10, I thought I would do a walk through of the upgrade process as I know many of you like to see all of the steps in the process. Because most of the time the timer is not quite accurate and there are times when the upgrades can seem to hang for a while, I recorded the entire process in this screencast.

Overall, I found the upgrade process to go smoothly. I did experience that the time was off by about 20 minutes each time overall and the when it says less than a minute left it means more like 5 minutes or so. But using the new operating system has been smooth and I haven’t experienced any major bugs with this release like I did with Mavericks.

If you have any questions or issues feel free to share them below or on my
Youtube Channel.




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Photo of the Week: Abandoned Engine

On vacation we took a trip to Bodie in the mountains above Mono Lake. Bodie is a ghost town which was once a mining town. When the residents decided to leave they left everything. It is one of those incredible historical locations that is pretty well preserved. It is also a photographer’s playground as there are so many subjects to photograph that you could spend a lot of time there capturing all of that history. Because of that, there are usually a lot of people mulling around taking photos so you will have to have patience in picking your spots and waiting for people to pass by. Depending on when you go you may be treated to some incredible clouds though usually the sky is clear. When there are clouds it really makes the landscapes in this area pop.

If you choose to go to Bodie you do need to be aware that the last 3 miles or so in are on a pitted road which is a combination of rocks and dirt. So be prepared to go slow and proceed with caution especially if you are driving in a car that is low to the ground as you might bottom out. I saw a number of cars low to ground take the road way too fast and based on the noise I am sure they at least scratched up the under carriage.

On the day we went we were lucky enough to have incredible clouds that day. Because of the historical nature of the subjects at Bodie it is a great spot to experiment with black and white photography. In this photo I was able to capture an abandoned engine. The detail in the cast metal was incredible to view and in combination with the landscape and clouds along with an angled perspective really set this shot off. I used a CPL to pull out more in the sky.

If you are interested in purchasing prints or license this shot, feel free to email me. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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iOS 8 Tips & Set Up: Health Kit

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One of the new features of iOS 8 is Apple’s Health Kit which takes data from all of your health apps and displays them in one place. This makes it a convenient location for you to store the information you collect from various health apps and lets you use the applications you prefer for the various health data you want to track without having to find one app that does it all well. I love this feature as I have found some apps that do certain things well and other things not so well. I was always either having to look in multiple locations for my health data or had to sacrifice some features to use an app that had most of the things I was looking for in one place. Now I can use multiple apps and have all of the data from each displayed in one place for my own tracking and for my doctor.
One app I have been trying out lately on the health side is Motion X 24/7. This application tracks your sleep patterns, steps, pulse, and other medical data. What I like about the app is that it can track your sleep patterns without the need for a separate bracelet. Just leave the phone on the bed next to you or on your pillow and it gives a detailed analysis of your sleep patterns including recording moments when it hears noise to see if you are snoring. This app integrates nicely with Health Kit as you will see in the tutorial below.

In this screencast tutorial I walk through the new Health Kit feature that is built into iOS 8. I walk through how to set up a Medical ID for emergency situations, how to enter your health data, how to give other health applications access to health kit so they can share your health data, how to track that data on a personalized dashboard, and how to export your data so your doctor can review it.

As always thanks for all of your support! If you find this tutorial helpful please subscribe, like, favorite and share it so others can find it on the internet. If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below or on my
Youtube Channel and I'll do my best to get back to you.



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iOS 8 Tips & Set Up: 1Password & Sharing Service

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One of the features most users have asked for on iOS is the ability for apps to share content with one another. There are plenty of instance where one app has something I would want in another app and all iOS offered was a simple sharing service that really only allowed me to open a file in an application. It is one of the reasons I haven’t really been able to use my iPad as a primary computing device.

Well with iOS 8 Apple introduced a new sharing service that allows developers to add services to the sharing menus so they can communicate across applications. One of the applications that really needed this ability was 1Password. 1Password is an application that stores all of your passwords and other confidential information in a secure file that can only be unlocked with your one password that you set up. 1Password solves the problem of remembering all of your passwords or using the same password everywhere so you can remember it which is very insecure, by allow you to only have to remember the one password it takes to open your password vault and then automatically filling in your passwords for you. It is one of the applications I install first on all of my Macs and now with the new updates to iOS 8 will be the first one I install on iOS devices as well.

1Password has an extension that allows you to click a button, type in your one password and it will pre fill all of your login information for you for whatever site you are on. Prior to iOS 8, you had to access 1Password and used its built in web browser to get the same functionality you got on your Mac with Safari. It was a work around and a pain in that you could be in Safari on your iPad and then go to a site with a password and then have to go to one password and use it’s browser to log in (or you could copy the password from 1Password and then go back to Safari and paste it in). This made it difficult to use all of the power and convenience of 1Password on iOS. Now with the new sharing feature, you can use Safari in iOS and click the share button, 1Password, and then type your 1Password and have it fill in your login information for you. Just like it works on the Mac! Also, if you have Touch ID you don’t even have to use your password as you can use your finger print to login!

In this screencast I walk you through how to set up and use 1Password on iOS 8, I also cover some of the built in features of the sharing service and show how that might work with other applications. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them here or on my Youtube Channel.



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Remembering to Look Back

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Today I read Jeremiah 45-47, Psalm 105, & John 21. There are times in life when we need to spend the time looking back. In our fast paced society we are always looking forward. We look to the future and worry about retirement. We look forward the next new toy that is coming out. We look forward to the weekends or to our next vacation. We hope that our future leads us to a legacy where our lives have had one kind of impact. We are so worried about the future that we don’t spend enough time seeing what has already happened in the past and what is happening now in the present. We forget all of the things God has done for us so we worry about what will happen in the future. Remembering the past and learning from it is not something we can afford to forget.

In the Old Testament times, the Israelites where constantly forgetting the things God told them. Rather than trusting God and serving him, they had to create their own idols and look for other sources of security outside of him. They relied on Egypt instead of God. They forgot all the incredible things God did for them and ended up doing what was evil in God’s sight. God was constantly sending prophets to remind the people to remember but they refused to do so, instead looking to a future that they hoped they could control. So God took away all of their security, causing Egypt to fall and then their own world and security to crumble around them to the point where they were captives in a foreign land.

Peter and the disciples also forgot the call Jesus had put on their lives. Instead of going out and spreading the gospel, they chose to go back to fishing. Jesus appeared to them on the seashore and asked Peter three times if he loved him. Three times he told him to feed his sheep. Jesus was reminding Peter of the call he had placed on his life.

I think about how little I spend in reflecting. I do reflect in these journals and at times when things are going a little crazy, but I know I need to do it more often. Reflecting grounds you in the reality of what you are experiencing now. It lets you know if you have been on this road you are on now and reminds you of how to navigate it so you don’t go off into a ditch. Looking back shows you how far you have come when all you can see is how far you need to go. It shows you a track record of how God has shown up in your life and becomes the antidote to worry and anxiety. Looking back is a vital part of keeping our memory of events fresh and keeps us going in the right direction.

Lord, thank you for the way you have guided me in my life. I look back and see your hand on my life every step of the way. I know I forget often and end up retracing steps I have already had. Please continue to bring me back to yourself and give me the memory I need to look back, reflect, and focus on where I am going based on what I know from the past. Amen.

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Photo of the Month: Fall to the Valley

For the photo of the month (or week depending on when I want to post again) I have another shot of Salt Creek Falls, Oregon's second highest waterfall. This one if from the top observation deck. I had to lean my tripod and camera over the rail to get this one because it is such a massive waterfall in terms of height. The observation deck is well maintained and is an easy stroll from the parking lot. So if you are ever in the area, this is a great waterfall to check out. If you want to venture down to the base of the falls, you will need to follow a well manicured path that does switch back as it descends to the bottom. So if you are not the kind of person who likes to hike, this shot from the top may be all you want to take. The morning is a great time to go as the waterfall faces west and the light is good. I used my Marumi CPL and ND8 filter and used a 2 second exposure for this shot.

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iOS 8 Tips & Set Up: Family Sharing

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One of the difficulties encountered with using iOS devices in a family is the issue of having everyone have their own iCloud accounts but then being able to share all of your purchases made on the App Store. For years I did a work around where my kids had their own iCloud accounts for their back ups and used a separate Apple ID for purchases so we could share our apps and consolidate them in one place. My wife and I wanted to share calendars and contacts so we shared an iCloud account to make that possible. Now with Continuity in iOS 8 that makes that set up inconvenient because every time her phone rings it rings on all of my devices and vice versa. In this scenario, Family Sharing finally makes it easy for us to use our Apple devices as a family.
Family Sharing allows you to link up to 5 iCloud accounts together in what is called a Family. This family allows each user to have his/her own iCloud accounts but links them together into a family where they have a shared family calendar, a shared family photo share, shared iTunes account to allow for shared apps, and certain restrictions that allows the primary account holder to approve an iTunes purchase and allows for the set up of accounts for children under the age of 13.

In this screencast I cover how to set up family sharing. I also cover all of the settings and walk you through all of the options and each step along the way in setting up your own personal family share. Be aware that you can only set up two family shares a year so if you make a mistake and delete a family, you can only add one more. If you added someone by mistake it is better to delete that person and keep the family share instead of deleting the family completely. Also be aware that children under the age of 13 that are added cannot be deleted and only transferred to another family share.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment here or on my
Youtube Channel.



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Upgrading to iOS 8: A Step by Step Walkthrough

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Today is iOS 8 release day and I put together a walk through to help you see the entire process so you know what to expect every step along the way. For those of you that are looking at upgrading right away there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, you want to make sure you know your devices is eligible for the upgrade. The chart below gives a picture of which devices are eligible for the update.

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Once you know your device is eligible, you will want to make sure you have a back up of your iOS device just in case something goes wrong with the update. You can either create a back up over the air and storing it on iCloud or by connecting your device to iTunes and storing the back up on your Mac or PC. I cover how to do this in the tutorial below.

Once you have your backup all set, you can start the update by going to Settings-General-Software Update. It may take a while to download the update and you need to make sure you have at least 5.7 GB of space on your device. If you do not, I cover how to make space for the update in the screencast below.

I found the update to take a couple of hours because I did it on launch day. You will probably be able to do so in much less time. Once you have updated your device you won’t notice much of a change on the surface but there are many innovations and improvements that will make iOS 8 a joy to work with. I’ll probably do a future screencast that goes over some of these changes.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment here or on my
Youtube Channel and I’ll do my best to get back to you.



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Mavericks Server Part 40: Accessing Your Server Remotely

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One of the things most administrators need is access to their servers when they are not physically onsite. Things happen that can cause you to need to make changes to the server settings or to troubleshoot an issue that may come up. Built into OS X Server are various ways you can connect to your server remotely.

In this screencast I cover how to connect to your server using screen sharing, the server application, and other options. As always if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment here or on my
Youtube Channel.



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Mavericks Server Part 39: Documents 5-Working with File Shares on iOS

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File sharing on OS X Server is one of the main reasons most people set up a server. Accessing those files from a Mac is easy to do and allows you to store your files on the server and have access to them where ever you are. But doing the same on iOS devices is not as simple due to the difference in how iOS handles it’s file structure. iOS uses a hidden file structure so you normally need to connect to your WebDAV share in the app you want to use to for those files like Pages or Numbers. There are times, however that you may want to look at all of your file shares in the way they are displayed in the finder so you can browse them as a whole instead of only by file type.

Documents 5 gives you the convenience and familiarity of the Finder on your iOS devices. Documents 5 will connect to your afp or smb file shares and display those files in the same folder hierarchy that you have set up on your server. From there you can open and share those files and folders with your other iOS apps. In this screencast I cover how to connect to your file shares and navigate them in Documents 5.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them here or on my
Youtube Channel.



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Mavericks Server Part 38: Airport Adminstration

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For those of you with an Airport Extreme Base Station (AEBS), OS X Server includes built in support to manage your AEBS making it more convenient to forward ports and control who can logon to your wireless network. One of the biggest issues we all face when running a server is the issue of opening ports. If you want to connect to any of the services on your server while you are away, you need to make sure you have opened ports in your router so you don’t get blocked from access. Routers function as physical firewalls keeping traffic from going in and out of your local network. To allow certain services to have access to the outside world you have to authorize that access by opening doors to the outside world. Those door are called ports. Typically you would have to go into your router software, look up the ports you need to forward for the services you want to use, manually enter those ports to be forwarded in your router’s software and then reboot your router for those changes to take place.

Using the service in OS X Server with an AEBS, Server automatically enters the ports you need for the services you entered. It will also open those ports without the need to restart your router so no one loses internet service and turning services on and off becomes seamless. It really is a great feature of OS X Server and is another reason to consider using an Apple router.

Not only does OS X Server control the opening and closing of ports, it also has a built in RADIUS service. RADIUS stands for Remote Authentication Dial In User Service. This basically means that instead of having your users log onto your wireless network with a general SSID and general password, they log in with their Network Accounts that you set up on your server. So the AEBS is using your Open Directory to determine whether someone is allowed to log onto your network or not. This adds an additional layer of security to your network and is especially useful in organizations where they have users coming and going and those users having the SSID and password necessitates constantly changing the password.

In this screencast I cover how to use the service built into OS X Server to manage your AEBS. I cover how to add new ports to the service for other applications that may need ports opened. I also cover how to set up and use the RADIUS service and talk about an application called
Admin Tool Radius that can help you manage multiple RADIUS Networks and manually set up RADIUS if you are not using OS X Server for that service.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them here or on my
Youtube Channel.



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Moving From Aperture Part 3: Aperture vs Lightroom

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In moving from Aperture in Lightroom one of the first questions most people have is, where are all of the settings and things I am used to using in Aperture in Lightroom? Fortunately, Lightroom and Aperture are similar in many ways. There are some things that are different in how they might name certain things, but you will find that most of the same features exist in each application. I have found that the editing features in Lightroom are a little better in terms of features and results but I do light the way Aperture manages pictures. So depending on your style and what you are looking for in a photo management/editing package you will probably find some trade offs with going to another platform.

In this screencast I walk you through where things are in Lightroom for those of you coming from Aperture. I cover how each covers photo management, photo editing, and other features. Hopefully this screencast will help familiarize you with Lightroom so you can pick up where you left off.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them here or on my
Youtube Channel.




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Moving From Aperture Part 2: Import to Lightroom 5

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Once you have exported all of your photos you then need to import them into another photo management solution. One of the best on the market right now is Lightroom 5. Lightroom is Adobe’s photo management and editing solution that has been Apertures competition for years. The Lightroom community is a large one with many pro photographers using it in conjunction with Photoshop for handling the management and editing of their photos.

Adobe made waves lately with moving all of their applications to a monthly fee model instead of the traditional pay to own model of using their software. The logic is that they will be able to issue updates more frequently and it will be cheaper in the long run, especially for those who use Photoshop. One of the offerings Adobe has is a
photographers bundle where you get Lightroom and Photoshop for $9.99 a month. When compared to the $149 price tag for Lightroom right now and the usual $79 upgrade price, with Photoshop thrown in, makes this a decent deal. Add in Lightroom Mobile and it seems like Adobe has put together a pretty good solution for photographers.

Lightroom 5 comes with a 30 day trial and will read the metadata that was exported through the Exporter for Aperture application which makes it easy to try out Lightroom to see if it is for you. In this tutorial I cover how to import your library into Lightroom 5. I also cover a few of the differences in how Aperture and Lightroom handle photo management. If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below or on my
Youtube Channel.




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Moving From Aperture Part 1: Exporter for Aperture

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With Apple announcing that it will no longer be updating Aperture or iPhoto, there have been a ton of questions about what is next and what users should do with their existing Aperture and iPhoto libraries. Apple did announce an upcoming photos app but for some it would appear that the pro features may not be available in the first release so there is concern about what to do while we are waiting to find out.

The first option for many would be just to wait and see what happens. Apple has announced that it will update both Aperture and iPhoto to work with it’s upcoming OS release Yosemite so there really is no reason to panic just yet. You can still use Aperture and iPhoto as always and there will be some way to migrate over to the new photos app in early 2015. If everything is working well for you in either program then you can stay put and see what happens.

For others who may be more on the pro or semi-pro level there may be some anxiety about how well this migration will work for them. Apple has had a history with pro apps of cutting features to make the transition happening and then slowly adding features back in. If you rely on Aperture for your business or you do a lot of editing you may want to consider other options instead of waiting to see what Apple may do. If you have been on the fence anyway this may be the time to check out other options.

The difficulty in trying out new options is the problem of library conversions. It is usually a pain to convert an entire library away from one proprietary system to another only to wonder if you will be converting back some day. Eventually everyone will convert to a new system at some time in their lives as software comes and goes so knowing there is a solution to help you make this transition so you can get all of your work out of a system is important.

Exporter for Aperture is a great application for helping you get all of your work out of Aperture without taking a lot of time doing it. This application allows you to customize a few things in deciding how you want your library converted and then does all of the work of moving your photos out of your Aperture library with all of your metadata baked in. Not only will it preserve your metadata, it will also export any of the photos you have made adjustments to as either JPEG or TIFF with those adjustments baked into the photo. It will do all of this without touching your existing Aperture library so you can test other photo management systems and still have your Aperture library in tact. So the only thing you would lose in the process is the actual slider location for your adjustments. Everything else gets exported and ready to import into another application like Lightroom.

In this screencast I show you how to use
Exporter for Aperture step by step. I cover all of the settings and show you what it looks like to go through the export process. This really is an excellent application and well worth the $14.99 for all of the time and headache it saves you.

Leave a comment below or on my
Youtube Channel and let me know what you are doing with your Aperture or iPhoto libraries. If you have any questions along the way feel free to leave them in either place and I will do my best to get back to.




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Photo of the Month

This summer we spent part of our vacation in Oregon. One of the things I love to do is hunt out one of the numerous waterfalls that seem to be everywhere in the state to shoot some long exposure photographs. There is something about sitting in front of a waterfall and taking it all in while snapping shots from my camera!

This year I got to go to Salt Creek Falls which is just north of Crater Lake. This fall is located just off of the freeway and has a very well maintained observation deck and trails around the waterfall itself. Salt Creek Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in Oregon and is quite impressive from the top due to it’s height. I took the switch back trail which was very nicely cared for down to the base of the falls to capture this shot. The mist from the fall made it tricky to keep the lens dry and I had to quickly cover my lens in-between shots. I used my Marumi CPL and ND8 filters to capture the water and tame the light on the right side of the photo. This really is an incredible waterfall and the “S” formed in the top of the falls almost makes you think that is where it got it’s name of Salt Creek Falls.

If you are ever in southern Oregon be sure to make the trip and stop by this waterfall. As you will see when I post some shots from the top, it is an incredible place to stop!

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Mavericks Server Part 37: Server Security Part 2: Icefloor 2

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In this second part on server security, I cover an excellent software firewall called IceFloor. Now I have covered IceFloor previously in my Mountain Lion Server series but IceFloor has been updated to 2.0 since then and it has been redesigned to make the process much smoother and easier to set up.

A software firewall is critical to those who have front facing servers which means their servers do not sit behind any physical hardware firewall. In essence most front facing servers have all of their ports open to the whole world so you need a software firewall to close the ports you don’ want open to secure your server. IceFloor is a front end to the built in PF firewall found on OS X Server. If you are not someone who likes to work through the Terminal, IceFloor has you covered. It’s graphical interface gives you access to all of the features found in the PF Firewall and gives you a visual way to customize and configure the firewall to fit your needs. It even has a built in wizard that will walk you through the process of setting up your firewall making it easy to configure.

In this screencast I cover installation and set up, how to open the ports you need to make your services work, and walk through all of the options included in IceFloor. If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below or on my
Youtube Channel.




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Mavericks Server Part 36: Server Security Part 1

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Once you get your server up and running, it is important that you give some thought to how to make sure your server is secure. With the advantages of running a server come the necessity to make sure it is well protected. If you are using a router of some kind you have a built in hardware firewall that will block anything but the ports you choose to open for certain services. For those of you not behind a router, you have to use software firewalls to achieve the same results. Either way you want to make sure you are monitoring your server for security.

In this screencast I cover some of the basics of server security. I cover some of the security features built into OS X Server. I cover the difference between a server behind a router and front facing, how ports work, the built in firewall, Little Snitch as security for in and out connections, when to use a full software firewall, and the basic log files inside the Server App.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below or on my
Youtube Channel.




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Mavericks Server Part 35: Mobile Accounts

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Hosting your users home folders on the server can be a great way to allow them to log into any computer on your local network and have their personal desktop show up. It also gives you a good way to manage and back up each of your users data and makes the whole management process easier.

But what happens when a user has a laptop that he/she takes outside the network on a regular basis? When this happens you really can’t host their home folders on the server because they will need access to them on the outside. Yes, they could use a VPN connection to log into their network account and have access to their desktop, but the process is slow and, depending on the bandwidth, could be almost impossible (If you are considering or would like to try to access your home folders remotely without mobile accounts, see my screencast on how to do that hereHappy.

To make this particular situation work, OS X Server includes the Mobile Accounts feature. Mobile accounts is a service that keeps a user’s Mac in sync with the home folders found on the server. So when the user comes into the network their computer syncs with the server. This means any work done outside your network will now be on your server making sure you never lose any data. This also means your user can still log into any computer on your network and still have access to the work he/she did while offsite.

In this screencast I cover how to set up the Mobile Accounts Service. I go over how to enable the server on OS X Server and how to get it set up on your client machines. If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below or on my
Youtube Channel.



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Mavericks Server Part 34: Xcode Server

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The Xcode Server is a new addition to OS X Server and adds the ability to manage your coding process through OS X Server. The Xcode Server has the ability to manage your code and the development process with your own git repository and bots to check your code.
While I am not a coder myself, I was able to walk through the process of setting up the Xcode Server and the various features built into the service. So in this screencast I cover the basics to show you how to get started with the Xcode Server. For those of you who do code, you’ll have to let me know how well it works and if it is a valuable part of your work flow. Also, if I missed anything or got anything wrong, let me know so I can pass it on to others.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below or on my
Youtube Channel.



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Launchbar 6 vs. Alfred 2

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I have always had a weakness for launcher applications since I started using a Mac. I started out with Quicksilver and loved the big graphical interface and the way I could perform multiple actions quickly without ever having my hands leave the clipboard. When Quicksilver was not longer going to be developed (something that has changed a bit since then) I started using Launchbar. While Launchbar did not have the larger graphical interface I came to love with Quicksilver, it was very fast and I got used to using it for just about everything. I got to the point where I was lost on a Mac that did not have Launchbar installed! From there I moved to Alfred because it seemed to offer the best mix of a larger graphical interface and the power of customizing and adding actions to make me more productive. I have been happy with Alfred ever since and put it on all of my Macs.

Well just a couple of weeks ago the guys over at Objective Development decided to release an update to Launchbar and introduced Launchbar 6. From the looks of it I could see that it had gotten a make over and added the larger interface I had wanted and a few new changes and tweaks to the services it could perform. So being the launcher addict that I am, I had to take a look at it. I was happy with Alfred but I couldn’t leave enough alone and now I am trying to decide which one I like best. In my quest to decide which one to go with, I made a list of features and compared them side by side. In doing this I determined that they are both very similar and capable applications. They really do overlap in a lot of ways in terms of their features but they differ when it comes to how they chose to implement some of those features.

Now I am still confused on what to do and I am still playing with both to figure out which one I will land on long term. So I decided to do a screencast to show you what I found and in the hopes that maybe it will help you decide which one is for you, or at least let you see what has changed with Launchbar 6. Really they are both very similar, with a few nuances which really means you can't make a bad decision either way. Both can be customized to almost match each other's features so it really comes down to what you want built in and what you want to customize (I'm still trying to decide myself they are so close!).

I would love to know your thoughts and which launcher you landed on. Let me know what you think by leaving any questions or comments below or on my
Youtube Channel.




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Mavericks Server Part 33: NetInstall

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One of the services built into OS X Server is the NetInstall Service. The NetInstall Service does a number of things to help your clients install or connect to services to help them boot their Macs. Built into the NetInstall Service is a NetBoot, NetInstall and NetRestore service. The NetBoot service creates a bootable disk image that sits on the server that allows your clients to boot their local Macs from that image and run the OS from the server instead of their local machines. The NetInstall service creates a complete OS install image hosted on the server that users can use to install the OS on their local devices. It works like a centralized recovery partition and even lets you customize what is installed and how it is installed. Finally, the NetRestore service restores a volume over the network from the server from a restore image hosted on the server. All of these services appear from the boot screen by holding down the Option Key when you reboot which make these services very easy to access.

In this screencast I focus on how to set up the NetInstall service in OS X Server. I cover how to create a disk image, how to customize the image to fit your needs, and how to set up and use the service once you have everything configured. If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below or on my
Youtube Channel.




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Mavericks Server Part 32: DHCP Server

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DHCP or Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol is the method most routers and servers use to assign IP addresses to devices on their networks. DHCP is how your computers and devices are connected to your network and how your router or server determines who is connected. OS X Server has a built in DHCP service that you can use to handle and assign those IP addresses to your client machines if you either don’t have a router that is doing that already or you prefer to have the server handle the IP addressing.

In this screencast, I cover how to set up the DHCP service in OS X Server. I cover pros and cons of using OS X Server's DHCP service as compared to a router. I also cover how to set up an Airport Extreme Base Station to work with server's DHCP service, walk you through all of the settings in the DHCP service, and cover how to set up static IP reservations for the clients on your network. If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below or on my
Youtube Channel.




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Mavericks Server Part 31: FTP Server

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One of the more familiar technologies associated with running a server is having FTP access to upload files to the server. FTP or File Transfer Protocol, has been used for years by web designers who work on websites and need to upload their changes to the server hosting the site. FTP is not the most secure way of transferring files but it certainly is the easiest way to do so.

Built into OS X Server is an FTP service that let’s you specify a folder you want to use for your uploads. The service does not allow you to specify multiple folders or to set up nested folders inside that one folder with different sets of permissions for each so if you need that kind of detail, you will have to use another method as server’s FTP service is very limited.

In this screencast, I cover how to set up the FTP Service in OS X Server. I cover how to choose an FTP folder (OS X Server only allows one), how to set the permissions for who has access, what ports to open, and how to connect to your FTP share using Terminal and an FTP Client (Forklift in this case). If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below or on my
Youtube Channel.




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Mavericks Server Part 30: Wiki Customization

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In the first part of our look at OS X Server’s built in Wiki server I covered the basics of host to set up the wiki and access it from your Mac and iOS devices. In that screencast I alluded to the fact that you could customize the wiki to suit your needs. In this screencast I cover how to customize the built in Wiki in OS X Server. I cover how to add media to your wiki, how to set up a wiki and blog, how to add documents to your wiki site to view and share and all of the options available to customize the wiki site to make it your own. As you will see in the screencast you can do a lot of things to make the wiki feel more like your own website. It is however limited in what you can do to customize it. So if you are looking for a custom design, you will have to built your own site.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below or on my
Youtube Channel.




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Mavericks Server Part 29: Wiki Server Set Up

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Built into OS X Server is a Wiki Website that you can use to create our own wiki’s, share files, manage your profile and even set up your own blog. For many users the Wiki may be the only website they need if the basic services fit what they are looking for. You can even customize the wiki to make it fit your own style and what you are trying to accomplish. Many schools and organizations run the Wiki Website as their own intranet site giving students and employees the opportunity to work with a website but only inside the school or companies network instead of out on the world wide web. It is also set up to host files that can be assessable from a Mac through the browser or through an iOS device through the WebDav protocol.

In this screencast I cover how to set up OS X Server's built in Wiki Server. I cover how to set the permissions for the service and make sure your wiki content is accessible from an iOS Device. I also cover all of the features of the server including how to set up wiki's for your various work groups. If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below or on my
Youtube Channel.



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Mavericks Server Part 28: Website Server

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One of the ideas behind hosting your own server is to be able to host your own websites and avoid hosting fees. OS X Server does have a built in Web Server that will allow you to host not just one site but multiple sites with virtual domains if you choose to set it up that way.

In this screencast I cover how to configure and set up the Website Server to host your website. I cover how to set up the website service on OS X Server. I cover the built in website and it's services, what each of the settings does, how to create your own website including how to set up DNS, add your website files, and test your new website. If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below or on my
Youtube Channel.



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Mavericks Server Part 27: Mail Server

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One of the reasons for hosting a server may be to control your own email. Email is something all of us use and can be a source of frustration if your email server and client are not working right. The biggest question is whether you should host your own mail server. If you are considering hosting your own mail server here are a few things to consider. First, you have to determine whether your ISP allows email hosting on your own server. Many ISP’s block port 25 and either discourage hosting your own email all together, or they require you relay your email through their server first. Second, you have to consider uptime. If your home server goes down so does your email. If email is critical to you, you may want to avoid hosting email. Next, you will need a static IP address to make this work which usually costs more at your local ISP than a standard account which usually has a dynamic IP that changes from time to time. Finally, there is the headache that comes with dealing with spam and other issues that come up with hosting an email service. So if you consider all of these things and still want to host your own email server, this screencast should get you up and running.

In this screencast I cover how to set up the Mail Server in OS X Server. I cover the configuration process including setting up DNS on your server and at your domain provider. I also cover all of the settings to make sure your Mail Server is configured correctly. If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below or on my
Youtube Channel.



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Mavericks Server Part 26:Caching Server

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Downloading updates is something that all of us do to keep our Macs and iOS devices up to date. Add in a bunch of devices under one roof and you end up using a lot of bandwidth to update the same software on all of those devices because you end up redownloading each update on each device. The Caching service in OS X Server takes care of that issue by keeping (or caching) a copy of the file you download the first time and then sending anyone else who needs that same update to the copy you just made on the server. That way you only download the update once thus saving your bandwidth and saving the time spent waiting for the update to download.

The Caching service cache’s downloads and updates from the Mac and iOS stores. It not only keeps a copy of system updates but any application or iBook you download. To have your client devices point to your server for the updates and downloads is zero configuration. The devices automatically check for a cached download and the same network and if they find that update they use the one on the server instead of downloading a new copy. Of course you need lots of space if you are storing copies of your downloads so you will need a decent sized hard drive and you can limit the size the Caching service can use to store those updates.

In this screencast I walk you through the Caching service. I help you get it up and running and show how it works and how to track the type and size of updates you have on your server.If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below or on my
Youtube Channel.



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Mac Power Users: OS X Server

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I had the privilege of talking with David Sparks and Katie Floyd from Mac Power Users this past week. We had a great time talking about all of the benefits of using OS X Server in the home or small business environment. If you have never listened to the show you might want to check it out this week. I am a long time listener so it was a blast to spend some time on the show talking about Server. You can subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast application or directly at www.macpowerusers.com.

If you have any questions about anything we talked about on the show, feel free to send me an email, leave a comment, or connect with me on twitter using
@tolthoff.
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Mavericks Server Part 25: Software Update

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Keeping your Mac’s up to date is an important part of maintaining your Apple Computers. Built into OS X is the Software Update Service that checks for new updates and then let’s you know when an update is available for OS X and other Apple Software. Users then typically download the update from Apple’s Servers and then run the update. Depending on how many computers you have on your network and the size of the update, each user would download a unique copy of the same update which could put a strain on your network bandwidth.

To help you better manage your network and make it more efficient, OS X Server has a built in Software Update Server that let’s you download the updates once and then have your users look to your server for their updates instead of all going to Apple’s Servers. It also allows you to control which updates your users have available to them. This comes in handy when an update breaks something else and you want to block your users from using that update. Because they are coming to your server for the update, you control what updates they see and can use.

In this screencast, I walk you through how to set up and manage Software Update on OS X Server. I also cover how to set up your users to point them towards your server for updates. If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below or on my
Youtube Channel.



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Macworld/iWorld 2014 Recap

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I know this post is late, I just haven’t had a chance to post yet, but I had an incredible time at Macworld/iWorld 2014! For those of you who may have never had the chance to go to Macworld/iWorld it is different from any tech conference you may have gone to. The great part about Macworld/iWorld is the people and networking that happens at the event. Sure there are plenty of really great workshops. There are also a lot of great products on display from a bunch of Mac Vendors.There are also a lot of application developers at the event showing off the latest in Mac/iOS software. All of this is great in and of itself would make Macworld/iWorld a great event. But when you add to that the opportunity to meet some incredible people who are passionate about the Apple ecosystem, you have an awesome event that I look forward to attending again next year.

This year I had the chance to have breakfast with the community people who work with
Don McAllister on ScreenCastsOnline. Don is one of the nicest guys I have ever met and he is brilliant at content development and screencast tutorials. Everything I do with screencasts I learned from Don and I am humbled to be a part of ScreenCastsOnline and I continue to learn new things that make me a better screen caster. If you haven’t had a chance to check out ScreenCastsOnline, I highly recommend you do so as Don is the best in the business and the group of people who work with him on the ScreenCastsOnline Magazine are an incredible group of people and experts in the podcast/publishing/video community.

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I also had the privilege of going to the Nosillacastaways Party hosted by Steve & Allison Sheridan from the Nosillacast and podfeet.com. It was an awesome party where I was able to meet a number of people including Chuck Joiner from MacVoices. Chuck is a great guy and I look forward to connecting with him more in the future. I also got to talk with the Nosillacastaways who couldn’t be there via a Google Plus Hang Out. You gotta love the fact that people were able to telecommute to a Mac event! Steve and Allison are incredible hosts and I really appreciated the fact that they put that event on every year. I look forward to next year!

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The workshops were great and I picked up a lot of tips and ideas this year. I sat in on David Sparks & Katie Floyd from Mac Power Users workshop on Power User Workflows. I have already picked up two Mail App plugins, SendLater and CargoLifter from ChungwaSoft! I also enjoyed a productivity workshop from Brett Terpstra. Brett has done some incredible things for the Mac Community through developing scripts and applications and it was great to hear his perspective on productivity. There were also some panels we attended including one on meeting the podcasters with my friends Katie, David, Don, Allison, Steve, & Chuck (who I met for the first time this year)!

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On the show floor I met a doctor who developed a magnetic ring that lets you easily secure your iPad to your hand without worrying about dropping it called Bakbone. Hearing his story of how he developed this for the medical field and it just took off as other people wanted to use it as well. It was cool to see he was as surprised at how well it was working as anyone else. He was a really great guy and the product is great in its simplicity. You can check it out here: http://www.thebakbone.com.

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We also got to talk to some developers who have put some cools software together. I got to see the Backblaze guys who run my favorite online backup that I use for all my Macs. I ran into a developer named Debbie Quetsch who walked me through an incredible chore application for iOS called Chore-inator. It won a Macworld best of show and is an application I wish I had when the boys were younger! Another application I am looking forward to is BusyMac’s new contacts application called BusyContacts. I got to see a walk through by BusyMac co-founder John Chaffee and it looks like a great application that solves a lot of issues I have with managing contacts. There are plenty of other products and applications that I saw that were incredible! The show room floor really is a great place to check out new stuff for your Mac or iOS devices!

Overall, Macworld/iWorld is a great event and I look forward to attending and connecting with everyone again next year!

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Mavericks Server Part 24: Profile Manager Device Management

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In the previous screencast I covered the options and benefits to managing users and groups of users through Profile Manager. But there are times when you want to manage the devices your users are doing their work on and have certain settings and/or features set up in advance instead of relying on your users to set those things up. It could be energy saver settings all the way to where those devices look for software updates. Not only does Profile Manager allow you to manage users and groups of users through its interface, you can also add devices and device groups to the list of things you manage and use Profile Manager to push those changes to your devices.

In this screencast tutorial I cover how to manage your Mac and iOS devices using Profile Manager. I cover the information Profile Manager provides on each of your enrolled devices. Then I talk about strategies for managing your devices and go over the various settings you can push to your devices using profiles.

If you have any questions feel free to leave them below or on my
Youtube Channel and I’ll do my best to get back to you.



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Mavericks Server Part 23: Profile Manager Users & Groups

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One of the benefits of using Profile Manager is the ability to manage users and groups from one simple web interface. Profile Manager allows you to make changes once through the web interface and then have those changes pushed to all of your users and groups instead of having to go to each user individually to make the changes on each of that users devices. If you manage a large group of users, it is really convenient to set up a group that includes all of the users you want to manage, set up a profile that you want to effect all of those users, and then have that profile pushed to all the devices those users might use. It can be a huge time saver!

In this screencast tutorial I cover how to manage your users and groups using Profile Manager. I cover some strategies for when to use groups and when to use users in setting up your profiles. Then I walk you through each of the payloads that are available to customize and push to your users and groups.

If you have any questions feel free to leave them below or on my
Youtube Channel and I’ll do my best to get back to you.



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Mavericks Server Part 22: Profile Manager Restrictions & Settings

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One of the newer features in Profile Manager is a set of restrictions on who can enroll devices, how they enroll those devices, and what actions they can perform using the my devices web portal. This is a great addition to Profile Manager as in past versions it was an all or nothing set up which meant that users had much more control than some IT Professionals liked over certain features. This is a step in the right direction and should help more IT departments to better manage their users and devices.

In this screencast I go over each of the restriction settings. I also cover the basic settings found in each of the tabs in the Profile Manager Web Interface including how to access information on each of your users and devices.

If you have any questions feel free to leave them below or on my
Youtube Channel and I’ll do my best to get back to you.



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Mavericks Server Part 21: Profile Manager iOS Enrollment

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Connecting your iOS devices to Profile Manager can really speed up the process of managing and setting up your mobile devises and makes server a really powerful Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution. Instead of having to go device to device every time you want to make a change to one of your services or settings on your devices, you can simply make changes on the web interface and have those changes automatically pushed to all of your iOS devices. Whether you are a home user trying to manage a few devices for your family or an IT professional managing a business, you will want to use Profile Manager to help you set up and manage your devices.

In this screencast I cover how to enroll your iOS devices into Profile Manager so you can manage them and push changes. I cover how to install the profiles you will need to enroll your iOS devices including the proper order you will need to install them. I also cover how to install the basic configuration profile that adds services you have previously set up like calendar, contacts, and VPN to your iOS devices.

If you have any questions feel free to leave them below or on my
Youtube Channel and I’ll do my best to get back to you.



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Mavericks Server Part 20: Profile Manager Mac Enrollment

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One of the benefits of Profile Manager is being able to manage your client Mac devices. In order to manage all of these devices they need to first be enrolled in Profile Manager. The process of enrollment involves installing a series of certificates that allow you access to the Mac to push your profiles and changes.

In this screencast I cover how to enroll a Mac in the Profile Manager Service. I cover where to go to get the profile you need to install. I also cover the order in which to install those profiles and how to know your Mac’s have been successfully enrolled.

If you have any questions feel free to leave them below or on my
Youtube Channel and I’ll do my best to get back to you.



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Mavericks Server Part 19: Profile Manager Set Up

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One of the biggest advantages of having a server is being able to manage all of your clients and devices in one place. Built into server is a user interface for adding user accounts and you can bind your client machines to your server to add the to your open directory to allow access to those networks accounts. But OS X Server also includes a built in Mobile Device Management service (MDM) called Profile Manager.

Profile Manager is designed to help you manage the settings and services your users and devices can have access to. It allows you to set up your services and permissions once and then push those changes to all of your users and devices. It really does make managing your clients a much easier process and allows you to do so remotely without having to be in front of each machine.

In this screencast I cover how to set up Profile Manager on OS X Server. I walk you through each of the settings included with the service and walk you through the set up process.

If you have any questions feel free to leave them below or on my
Youtube Channel and I’ll do my best to get back to you.



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Mavericks Server Part 18: Server Back Up

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With all the hard work put into getting your server configured it would be devastating to have a hard drive failure and lose all of your work. Also, if you server is mission critical and any downtime is costly, having a solution to get you back up and running as quickly as possible is something very important to think through and consider. That is why a good back up strategy for your server is so important.

Backing up your server is different than the Time Machine Service built into OS X Server. The built in Time Machine Service inside OS X Server is designed to back up client machines not the server itself. You have Time Machine on the server that you can use to back your server up to a connected drive. So Time Machine is available just not through the server app. But a Time Machine back up is not going to get you up and running in a hurry so you will need other strategies to make sure you have options. In this screencast I cover a Server back up strategy that includes, incremental back ups to Time Machine, a bootable clone of your server so you can recover quickly, and strategies for backing up your Open Directory and services.

If you have any questions feel free to leave them below or on my
Youtube Channel and I’ll do my best to get back to you.



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Mavericks Server Part 17: Time Machine

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One of the benefits of running OS X Server is setting up a centralized back up workflow that allows your users to back up their machines to one drive on your network. Since most users have a difficult time remembering to back up their machines by plugging in their external drives and running Time Machine, it is important to find a set-it-and-forget-it solution to back ups. Built into OS X Server is a Time Machine Server that allows your users to back up to a centralized drive on your server that you select and they can do so wirelessly. This allows Time Machine to run on each computer automatically as if you had a dedicated drive connected to their computer. So without doing a thing all of your back ups take place on a regular basis and each is placed in a backups folder on the drive you select for back ups. It really is a great solution and works like a Time Capsule without having to worry about drive space since you can replace an external drive easier than the drive in a Time Capsule.

In this screencast I cover how to set up the Time Machine Service. I also cover how to connect your users to the back up, set a limit on the size of each back up, and how to monitor your back ups to make sure they are working properly. As always, feel free to leave a comment here or on my Youtube Channel.



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Mavericks Server Part 16: VPN

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With all of the concerns over security today, it is important to make sure you data is protected. One of the places that could potentially put you at risk is unsecured public wireless networks in places like coffee shops or airports. Setting up a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a great way to secure your connections to these public networks. In an unsecured environment, someone could “sniff” the packets of information that are being sent from and to your computer over these unsecured networks, making you vulnerable to being “hacked.” A VPN connection basically encrypts all communications from and to your computer over the internet. It does this by routing all your communications over a secure channel through your home computer. So for VPN to work you would need to make sure your server is up and running when you try to connect.

In this screencast I cover the VPN service built into OS X Server. I go over how to set up your VPN service, set your router to allow those connections, and cover how to set up your client machines to use VPN.

If you have any questions along the way feel free to leave a comment here or on my Youtube Channel.



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Mavericks Server Part 15: Messages

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Text messaging is a popular way to communicate. We text with our phones all the time. We also, like to messing one another on our computers and use this communications method to keep in touch in a quick and efficient way. Sometimes we are concerned with the level of privacy our chat messages have and would prefer to have private messaging system as opposed to going through a third party like Apple or AOL.

Built into Maverick Server is a private messaging system called Messages. This service allows you to set up your own iMessage Server so you can have private chats with other clients on your server and the messages you create are stored on your server not in the cloud. This is great for highly confidential communications or for those who just want to make sure they know who is being communicated with for safety reason such as monitoring your kids use of iMessages.

In this screencast I cover how to set up the Messages Service. I cover all of the various settings and how to set up the client machine to use your Messages Service. I also cover how to auto set buddy lists using groups so all of your chat buddies automatically show up in your buddies list without having to add them manually.

As always if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them here or on my
Youtube Channel.



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Mavericks Server Part 14: Contacts

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Hosting your own contacts server can be a good way to manage your own contacts and keep that information off the cloud. If this is a concern of yours or you just want to manage your own iCloud-like solution, OS X Server has a built in contacts service that manages your contacts using CardDAV which will sync with all of your Mac and iOS devices.

In this screencast I cover how to set the service up. I also cover how to set up your client machines to work with your OS X Server Contacts Service. In addition I cover how to set up a joint contacts account that all of your users can use for their contacts service so everyone can share a joint contacts list. This can come in handy for couples or family that want to share their contacts in one centralized list.

If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment here or on my Youtube Channel.



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What Do You Think About Your Spouse?

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Lately in my work with couples I have seen a problem that creeps up in relationships. Every relationship has conflict. To say there is no conflict in a relationship usually means that one of the two people is holding back and not sharing for the sake of peace. If you really probed under the surface you would find that the quiet person is actually not happy and does have issues that he/she feels needs to be dealt with but for one reason or another doesn't feel bringing those things up will be helpful. So we all have conflict in relationships.

Over time, unaddressed conflict can lead people to begin to guess at their spouses' motives and they start to characterize their spouse by those negative views. So I might think my spouse is selfish because she always seems to want to get her way. Being selfish is not a good thing and the more and more I think about my spouse in a negative light, the more I begin to see that negative trait in her life. She asks for something that I think is unreasonable I say to myself, "See there she goes being selfish again." She balks at doing something that I feel she should drop everything to do and it further reinforces my view that she is selfish. She says she doesn't feel like Chinese food after I make the suggestion that I would like to go there and that adds another thing to back up my negative perception. If this goes on over time, pretty soon I really believe she is selfish and feel like I have a bunch of evidence to prove that is true.

Now if I choose to let my perceptions about my spouses motives guide how I view my spouse it will begin to effect my love for my spouse and my desire to connect with her. Who wants to connect with someone they think is selfish? Let this go long enough and I start to think it is a justice issue and begin to fight everything my spouse is doing and challenge her because selfish people need to be confronted and challenged on their selfishness. Why should you let a selfish person get away with their selfishness? You can see how this could lead to the unraveling of a marriage!

But what if I chose instead to give my spouse the benefit of the doubt? What if I chose to see her as the loving person I married? What if I chose to check things out before assuming the worst? How would that shape my interactions with her?

Going back to my examples above what if I ask about what I see as her unreasonable request and realize that it really isn't that unreasonable at all given the circumstances? What if I find out the reason she didn't drop everything for my request is because she already has a commitment to someone whose need is greater than mine? What if I find out she didn't want to go to Chinese not because she just wanted her way but because Chinese made her sick last time and she wants to enjoy her time with me? The list of possibilities could go on and on. The point is, when I choose to see my spouse in a positive light and give her the benefit of the doubt instead of presuming she is guilty until proven innocent, my attitude changes and the conflict in my relationship goes down because I am not picking as many fights based on my negative reaction to everything she says or does.

So how do think about your spouse? Have you allowed your attitude to change to the point where your spouse is your enemy? If so how is that guiding and tainting your responses to everything he or she does? Can your spouse do anything without you seeing the negative in it? If so you need to adjust how you view your spouse and choose to see the best instead of the worst. Watch how doing that changes your attitude and interactions with your spouse and what that does to your feelings of love and connectedness in your marriage.
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Mavericks Server Part 13: Calendar

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For some people having any information in the cloud is something they don’t want to do. Maybe you are in an industry where you need to protect your data and you don’t want to run any risk with the data you are transmitting back and forth whether that be calendar or contacts. You would like to use iCloud or Google but that leaves to much up to chance so you really would like to to set up your own iCloud service. Built into OS X Server is a calendar, contacts, and messaging service that you control that will keep your information off of anyone else’s cloud. In this screencast we will look at the calendaring service provided in OS X Server that works with standard CardDAV protocols.

As always if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them here or on my
Youtube Channel. Thanks for all your support!



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Mavericks Server Part 12: Connect & Automount AFP

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Once you have your file sharing all set up you need to connect to those new file shares you set up. Apple has built in a few ways to connect to those files including AFP, SMB 2, and WebDAV built into Mavericks Server. Apple is in the process of moving everything over to SMB 2 but still allows its own AFP protocol for now. It appears AFP may be going away in the future but it is still available in Mavericks. WebDAV is used mainly to connect to shares from iOS devices but could be used on your Mac as well.

In this screencast I cover how t connect to your AFP shares using a couple different methods. I also cover how to set up your shares to auto mount to your Mac at start up. As always, if you have any questions feel free to leaver them here or on my Youtube Channel.



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Mavericks Server Part 11: File Sharing & Home Folders

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File sharing is one of the basic things most users get a server to do. In this screencast I cover how to set up file sharing and all of the permission settings that you can apply to your files and folders. I also cover how to set up home folders on your server so your users can log into any computer on your network and have their own personal desktop show up on that computer as if it was their own computer.

If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment here or on my Youtube Channel.



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Mavericks Server Part 10: Bind Clients to Server

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Once you have your Open Directory set up and you have your users and groups set up and running, the next step is to get your devices registered on your open directory so your users can take advantage of the network accounts you have just set up. With network accounts, your users can log into any computer on your network with their network login and, as I will cover in a future screencast, they could even have their home folders show up if you have them stored on the server. In order for this to work, however, your computers need to be bound to the same Open Directory.

In this screencast, I cover how to bind your Mac clients to your server’s Open Directory. I walk through the steps needed to perform the bind and talk about the difference between authenticated and anonymous binding. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below or on my Youtube Channel.



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Mavericks Server Part 9: Users & Groups

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Once you have your Open Directory set up you can now begin to set up and manage your users and groups within that directory. In Mavericks Server you can manage all of your users from the server interface and set up what services they have access to. You can set up these permissions for certain services either individually or by setting up groups. Using groups you would set up a group and then add your users to that group. Within the group interface you can add or delete services that all of the users in that group have access to.

In this screencast I cover how to set up your users, how to tell the difference between a network and local user and the advantages of each, and finally how to set up groups and manage your users in those groups. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them here or on my Youtube Channel.



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